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Can I Cry, a poem

Note from CFJ: This poem was submitted to be read at a Black History Month program at the prison but was disapproved and sent back to the prisoner. Shame on River North Correctional


Listen to my voice and you will hear the silent cries that I've suppressed for so long.

Can I cry!

Holding it in has only built up the pain and contempt of my small sacred, crumbling world.

Can I cry!

Talking from our homeland many years ago

Jam packed at the bottom of a vessel,

brought to a country that we're not familiar with,

stripped away from our families, culture and language

only to be brainwashed to believe that the melanin in our skin is a sin.

Damn, should I cry!

Emotionally disturb -- misguided with no sense of direction

Taken out of society because I was considered a menace.

Now incarcerated, depressed, stressed from the oppressors.

Missing my kids and family; yearning for this cycle to break.

Can I cry!

Willie Lynch told the Europeans to break us like a horse.

To take us from one form of mental life to another,

keep the body and the mind; break our will.

Lynch guaranteed

If installed correctly his method will work

and we as Africans will be enslaved for at least 300 years.

Yo! Open your EYE...

It's been 306 years and now we are self-destructive.

Damn! Should I cry!

Hung, whipped and castrated if we was mentally strong and stubborn.

Judged on our physicality

Not our intelligence, characteristics, sense of humor, beauty, or uniqueness --

Treated like we're incompetent, belittled and degraded.

Can I cry!

Our mothers, sisters, and daughters was raped and dehumanized just to save our necks --

while we stood in the back.

Yo! I'm crying!

I'm crying because we as men have to come out of the back,

come out of the mental dependency

and stand up to protect our Queens -- they need us.

Should I cry!

Will it wash away all of my perplexities and unhappiness or

will they still be here after I wipe my eyes.

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